Premier is Valorant’s new team-based game mode which completed its Beta a short while ago. Enrolling in teams, players got to play in a party during their weekly matches to try and earn a spot in the playoffs and secure victory. I was fortunate enough to win my tournament and got a Premier Beta Champion Title and Player Card. If not for cosmetics, the game mode is a fun social environment for players of all levels to brush up on their Valorant.
Finding a Premier League team was difficult for me and I had to trial on multiple teams to find the right one. Regardless, it was fun to play a 5-stack competitive queue with players from different skill levels to see what their comms were like and understand the depth of strategy and coordination required to thrive at each level. Being a player that bounces around high Silver and low Gold, I played with players as low as Iron and as high as Platinum during my trial periods. It was fun to understand players’ mindsets at lower and higher levels than me. If I ever wanted to build my own Premier team, trialling different players and talking with them seems like a fun experience.
After I found my team, our team had a fairly consistent five players on the roster that played the matches every week. It was easy to game plan during the week, find out our best agents on each map and shift the roles so it suited all of us. We also picked our favourite maps and agents to plan for tournament modes and assigned roles in advance to learn lineups and execute abilities in a comfortable manner. The team-building experience of playing competitive queue together to build synergy and going into custom games to make sure we knew how our abilities would work made us collectively better.
Personally, I learned how to do callouts in the game better and to clear comms in a clutch situation. I think this has helped me improve as a Valorant player and helped me understand the fun and difficulty of team-based 5v5 in a strategic and competitive environment. I also made new friends to play Valorant with so that’s a big bonus.
That's a wrap. For now.
Thank you for participating in Premier Global Open Beta and congrats to all the Champions.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) May 22, 2023
Premier being run with pre-set teams made me aware of how important team play and coordination are in this environment in order to be successful. While everyone understands that Valorant is a team-based 5v5, it truly hit home for me after a match on Premier. I had never run a consistent 5 stack in my time playing Valorant, so working around your teammates’ quirks, understanding their strengths and playstyles, and covering for their deficiencies was something I wasn’t good at doing until this game mode got released.
Now I understand that team play is perhaps the most important denominator in deciding the outcome of the match, and over a long game of Valorant, the understanding and appreciation of my teammates grew as I tried to synchronise with them to earn a hard-earned victory.
Pinging the spike post plant, pinging where you got killed from, and communicating how many you saw during your jump peak are all obvious things, but doing this consistently is important and effective. I think for a lot of players, Premier taught them the importance of team play and strategy, and for that, I am grateful.
Hope you've decided which sprays are going on your Spray Wheel. Read about that and more in Patch Notes 6.10:
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) May 23, 2023
Less Smurfing and Throwing
While this is just how I felt and have no statistical data to back this claim, I felt like there was less smurfing and throwing on Premier than there was in the competitive queue. As a team-based game mode, players know each other and are less likely to tilt or throw in response to things not going right in the game. Already a massive improvement over the competitive queue, it forces players to communicate and come up with a solution rather than screaming down the microphone and hurling abuse.
I felt like I only faced one or maybe two smurfs during all of my matches of Premier which makes me both happy and relieved. Smurfing is a common problem I run into often at my elo, and in Premier, I found fewer smurfs. Or perhaps they struggle to find the same impact against coordinated 5-man teams? Who knows? It’s a good experience and bodes well for the long-term health of the game mode as it finds itself in the new Valorant ecosystem.
Path to Pro
Premier really felt like it could be the future of Esports in the FPS scene and a solid path to pro mode for the up-and-coming players that want to make it to the highest levels of the game. It is a sophisticated tournament system that locks in players and has them directly compete with each other. Using an in-game mode for qualifiers makes it less of a logistical nightmare. It also solidifies the times and dates of matches. Especially in anything under the Tier 2 professional scene, Premier has the potential to have talents play from home and expands the possibilities for the up-and-coming.
Teams That Couldn’t Experience the Tournament Mode
Premier had a cap on the number of teams that could make the tournament mode. While a one of tournament mode match was in the regular schedule, the playoff tournament was only available to a select number of teams that reached a certain amount of points. This means teams that didn’t do well couldn’t experience the tournament mode. I understand that the reality of competitive gaming is that some teams will have to miss out but for the first few iterations of Premier, I’d like Riot to be inclusive of the whole player base and give them all an opportunity to experience the tournament mode. While my team made the playoffs, all our members agreed it would be disappointing to play and lose too many games to be in the tournament mode.
Skill Rating Issues
There was a bug going around which didn’t allow for certain players to join the teams despite being around the same rank on competitive. My team also experienced this and we couldn’t get a sub in during a hectic week where half of our team had commitments during our game time. While we eventually found a sub that could hop in, these bugs in the game mode should be ironed out. I’m sure Riot is aware of these shortcomings and Valorant is very clean and well put together, but bugs affecting enrolment can be a hassle for players that want to play with friends or have a quick sub.
I don’t know if this affected other regions, but my Premier team had players from different countries in different time zones within the same team. This made it difficult for some players to consistently turn up to matches as they were too late during the day and it was made around one time zone, not multiple time zones. I think having a way to make sure the games aren’t too late or early for each region will make sure attendance isn’t up in the air for a lot of team members. Another option would be making the queue windows longer than just an hour. Just a thought Riot devs.
The tournament mode was a blast and the highlight of this game mode. I found both tournaments incredibly enjoyable and even won one, making it a memorable Valorant experience. However, this game mode needs improvement.
When it comes to voting on maps, the party leader can veto the vote of other players and choose the maps as they see fit. This makes the voting system pointless as the party leader can choose to ban and pick maps they want to even if their opinion was part of the minority. This happened in the test tournament during my Premier Beta experience and they should make it so votes sway decisions and if an equal number of votes go to one map, the game spins a wheel. This way the party leader doesn’t hold such sway over the banning and picking of maps and teams will have the majority of players more than likely comfortable with these choices.
Another part of the tournament mode that was underwhelming was the lack of BO3 and BO5 matchups. This can probably be easily coded into the game but it was still a disappointment to only have BO1s although from a logistical perspective, I understand why this is the case. Being able to pick and ban all maps regardless of whether it is in the intended map pool for competitive queue would also help keep the game fresh and give players more choices. But all cultured gamers will ban Breeze first. Right?
Clutch up. Be bold.
The Playoff Tournament for Premier Global Open Beta is right around the corner. Here's a few things your team should keep in mind.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) May 20, 2023
Premier was a fun and novel experience that should definitely be fully integrated into Valorant as a permanent game mode. It encourages strategy, communication and teamplay, which can be lacking in the competitive queue due to the random nature of teammates and opponents. With a few improvements and expanding on the good ideas Premier brought to the table, it could become the standard for tournament-type game modes in the FPS genre. Regardless, I think Riot struck gold with Premier and I had my most enjoyable Valorant experience during the Premier Open Beta period. Thanks for the new fun game mode Riot.
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